Breaking News! It seems that, although not required, there is something to discover in Orcus only if you've already cleared the Frost Caverns. I wonder if there are more surprises like that. Would something additional be revealed in the Sunken Ruins if they go through it again after completing the Divine Mountain?
Thanks for responding! I'm happy to see this thread garner additional interest. Have you read the after-story yet? To understand your position better, it would help to know whether your opinion already takes into account both of Kouki's after-story arcs.
In the end, this kind of character is used as a foil, a villain, or a future hero.
You say this...
Although his time in the abyss may have seemed like an eternity to Hajime, his development was actually fairly quick. On the other hand, Kouki is on a much longer path to enlightenment and development because he is beginning his trial from an emotional-developmentally disadvantaged starting point. He is going to have to hit rock bottom and accept that he is wrong before we start to see any real character development in him. At some point there will be that POP! moment when he finally pulls his head out of his ass and things start to turn around for him
... but you seem to anticipate Kouki's potential for growth. As annoying and awful and immature as he is, there's still a spark of a decent human being that is struggling to find its way out. Isn't the fact that you are anticipating his growth a sufficient demonstration that there's more to the character than as a mere foil, or as a "mere" anything?
I also want to emphasize the timeline. As you pointed out, the entire story takes place over ~4-5 months. This is just not enough time for the kind of growth a character like Kouki would have to go through. If, hypothetically, he managed to undergo a complete change of heart in a mere 4 months, this would be so unrealistic as to strain credulity. In my own experience, changing deeply held beliefs can take years or even decades. Kouki either needs more time or else he needs to hit rock-bottom (as you said) before a complete change of heart could be believable.
That is an interesting position but I don't see how it is supportable. He is so much like the dumb jocks that I knew back in HS that it was almost as of the author had gone to school with me. The characteristics would be a shallow person who believes they should always win. When they don't, it is because someone else cheated or screwed up. It can never be their fault.
Hmm. It's easier if we compare him to the dumb-jock stereotype, as I've never met someone who fully lives up to any stereotype once I've actually taken the time to get to know them. In this sense, then, I completely agree with you. Because, even though their failings were no doubt myriad, the dumb jocks you knew in HS were actual people with actual experiences, motivations, and emotional lives.
The dumb-jock trope would, for example, have Kouki doing everything in his power to thwart Hajime to "pay him back" for the Orcus humiliation. Instead, as even you acknowledge, Kouki experienced some amount of self-doubt and cognitive dissonance - brief though it was - that he had to work through. He doesn't just blame things on Hajime. Please note, also, that despite this humiliation, Kouki doesn't sulk or ignore his role as class leader. Seeing as Orcus was such a visible public failure, it would have been easy for him to stop caring as a defense mechanism (consider that he is young, attractive, and charismatic - he could have had a blast just living-it-up surrounded by women and alcohol). That he doesn't do this shows real integrity.
I would estimate his tantrum-like behavior down at the grade school level. I had two kids and they had lots of friends. That kind of childish behavior wasn't tolerated after 4th or 5th grade at the latest. However, being a parent, I am always willing to accept a reasoning that my kids and their friends were exceptional!
:) I'm sure your kids are awesome.
It sounds like you're an old guy like me. Personally, I have a hard time judging the relative maturity of 18 year olds. Hajime also strikes me as fairly immature, for example. Why are you willing to tolerate Hajime's immaturity but not Kouki's?
I agree that Kouki is immature. I believe this is well-explained given his backstory and natural talents. So, to my mind, his character acts in accordance with my expectations given his stunted growth.
I did not see any passages where he showed any real depth. Since the first book, the author went to lengths to portray Shizu's never-ending efforts to smooth things over due to his simplistic outlook.
Words and phrases used to describe Kouki were 'hopeless guy', 'completely irrational', 'contrarian', 'he whined', 'misinterpreting reality', 'baseless assumptions', 'ignoring reality'.
I think it is really important to note that our primary lens for viewing Kouki is through the eyes of people who find him annoying. I don't believe we are ever privy to his inner monologue as we are with other main characters. It is very likely that if the story had been told from a different lens (e.g. from the perspective of one of the women in the palace who are head-over-heals for Kouki), he would likely have looked very different to us.
So, while I agree that seeing explicit evidence of growth in the narrative is a bit challenging, I would still argue that it is there nevertheless. He's never quite as bad as he might be, and there's good reason to ascribe legitimate positive traits to him, such as decent, caring, generous, honest, protective, etc.
... but he backpedals and convinces himself that something deceitful must have been done to Kaori. In the end, he doesn't grow - he doubles down on his irrationality and has to be forehead flicked by Shizuku to snap him out of his delusion.
But he did finally snap out of his delusions - for a bit. That's the key. Of course he back-peddled again after that, but that's a completely believable human thing to do. Based on that scene, it was clear to me that there is some level of reflection going on - Kouki genuinely cares about his friends, and he is not irredeemable. It's more that there is an irreconcilable difference with what he understands as "good" and his current situation. He just doesn't have the mental machinery to deal with it.
Unfortunately, history has a long trail of people who did terrible things with the best intentions. They thought they were right and good too. Just because he firmly believes he is good and right, doesn't mean he is. His abject failure in the ice labyrinth proves that he is neither right nor good.
Hmm. I think that whether you are a good person is roughly a first-order predicate based entirely on whether you act in accordance with principles that roughly correspond with a commonly accepted notion of "good". In other words, I think acting on genuinely held good intentions is sufficient.
I agree that watching him fail is entertaining, but he has yet to try and resolve a conflict. All he has done so far is try to restore things to the way they used to be. He still isn't learning, growing, or resolving.
Putting things back to the way they used to be is his initial naive and mistaken version of resolving this conflict. But merely being wrong isn't the same thing as being bad. And the fact that he keeps struggling with it even though he keeps getting it wrong is further evidence that he is not beyond redemption. Indeed, this is exactly what I like so much about the character. It would be boring and completely unrealistic if he just settled for the "accepted" solution that is completely contrary to his wold-view, after merely a few moments of reflection.
And when it happens, I will cheer for him. I think we all will.
If you haven't yet read the after story, then I think you are in for a treat.
there's a whole thread on the anime...but I'll summarize my feelings.
The anime does not reflect the LN well. It might was well be (as @Antipathy put it an 'alternate timeline') or for a different series of books altogether. It's not the worst anime adoption of a JNC novel ever (Ragnarok gets that title, with Smartphone a close 2nd) but it is bad. That being said, as someone who read the LNs first, I enjoyed some of the anime, mostly out of a sense of nostalgia or because a particular episode reminded me of a part of a LN I particularly enjoyed, but I can't imagine that many folks found the anime to be very good without the context of already having read the LNs. My advice: use some premium credits and buy the series of LNs (the premiums get you some quality bonus stories) and only after you get past where the anime covered (Volume 4? I'm not sure) go back and watch. If you can grit your teeth through the CGI sequences, there are a few moments that will make you chuckle, and overall you might enjoy the cour.
@piisfun I can relate in terms of my experience with my own super limited shelf space and trying to fit my novels without damage. Granted I only have a light novel section with nothing but else to worry about 😂
But in a less joking note, I appreciate that insight it does validate the concern I brought up so I'm glad I wasn't just entirely talking out of my ass.
I feel like we always end up having fun discussions in the threads we both talk in 😁 have a great night!
Volume 3 (Premium Edition): 5 Bonus Short Stories
In Search pf My Beloved Synergist: 2
The Wrong Way to Use Metamorphosis Magic
Glasses + Maid Uniforms + Cross-dressers = War
Boy's Talk and the Aftermath
@zing Sam already mentioned that it seems like Overlap will publish the after-stories. Kind of a no-brainer since Arifureta is probably their best selling series. I switched to waiting for an official release a long time ago back when Endo was fan-translating the series. (He ended up dropping it and the rest of the chapters were machine translated summaries.) Since then, I just don't touch WN translations~
Back on topic though, there is so much Arifureta content a year I doubt it'll be too long of a wait.
Volume 2 (Premium Edition): 7 Bonus Short Stories
Aesthetics Beget Sacrifice
Secrets, Buried Pasts, and so much More
She’s a Siscon
Searching for my Beloved Synergist
They Exist in Every Age
The Mascot Killer
@raos044 I think all volumes are worth it, the bonus stories are all really great and many of them show a side of Hajime we don’t normally see in the main storyline.
I will highlight Volume 4 specifically there are 40 pages worth of bonus material broken up into 6 stories, featuring many different characters. Hajime Yue Shea and tio of course but we have a story dedicated to Ai Chan Sensei, a parody of a very famous story written by a secret (or not so secret) pedophile, a story with Kouki and Ryutarou where I don’t hate Kouki’s guts with a burning passion, and many more, we even get an extremely in-depth lesson on how to use magic from Yui Sensei which personally left me in shock.